Business and Technology Education Council
The Business and Technology Education Council (BTEC) is a provider (existing as part of Pearson Education Ltd) of secondary school leaving qualifications and further education qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Whilst the T in BTEC previously stood for Technical, according to the DFE (2016) it now stands for Technology. BTECs originated in 1984 and were awarded by Edexcel from 1996. Their origins lie in the Business Education Council, formed in 1974 to "rationalise and improve the relevance of sub-degree vocational education".
BTEC qualifications, especially Level 3, are accepted by many universities (excluding Cambridge, Oxford and UCL unless combined with other qualifications) when assessing the suitability of applicants for admission, and many such universities base their conditional admissions offers on a student's predicted BTEC grades.. Currently, Imperial College London is the only university in Britain not to accept BTECs at all.
A report by the Social Market Foundation in January 2018 found that more than a quarter (26%) of university applicants in England entered HE with at least one BTEC qualification. The research found that BTECs provide a particularly significant route to higher education for specific groups, with almost half students entering university with a BTEC, alongside large numbers of students in specific regions, including the North West, Yorkshire and the Humber, North East and West Midlands. This followed a separate report published by HEPI in 2017 on BTECs and higher education.
BTEC qualifications are in theory equivalent to other qualifications, such as the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) (levels 1 to 2), A Level (level 3) and university degrees (levels 6 to 7). BTECs are undertaken in vocational subjects ranging from business studies to engineering. Examples of qualifications include:
- Animal Management
- Applied Law
- Applied Science
- Applied Psychology
- Art & Design
- Children's Care and Learning
- Creative Digital Media Production
- Early Years & Education
- Hair And Beauty
- Health & Social Care
- Music / Music Technology
- Performing Arts
- Public Services
- Sports Science
- Travel & Tourism
More BTEC subjects are set to come soon, with a more academic approach. Some exam boards have also announced Criminology qualification which is launching very soon.
The BTEC (Business and Technology Education Council) was formed by the merger of the Business Education Council (BEC) and the Technical Education Council (TEC). The University of London Examinations & Assessment Council (abbr. ULEAC) and BTEC merged to form Edexcel.
Awards and course system
School leaving qualification (Level 3)
The following Level 3 courses, known as BTEC Nationals, are intended for those with five or more GCSE grades A*-C including English, mathematics and science. The qualification names for Level 3 courses changed dependent on whether they were awarded through the forthcoming National Qualification Framework (NQF) or the predecessor Qualification Credit Framework (QCF):
|NQF (2016)||QCF (2010)||A level size equivalence||Grading|
|BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma||BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma||3 x A levels||PPP to D*D*D*|
|BTEC Level 3 Diploma||BTEC Level 3 Diploma||2 x A levels||PP to D*D*|
|BTEC Level 3 Foundation Diploma||BTEC Level 3 90-Credit Diploma||1.5 x A levels||PP to D*D*|
|BTEC Level 3 Extended Certificate||BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma||1 x A level||Pass to Distinction*|
|BTEC Level 3 Certificate||BTEC Level 3 Certificate||0.5 x A level||Pass to Distinction*|
School leaving qualification (Level 2)
The following Level 2 courses, known as BTEC Firsts, are intended for students at GCSE level as a vocational equivalent. There are no BTEC courses for English, or mathematics. Students who do not achieve the minimum Level 2 Pass grade will receive a Level 1 Pass in the given qualification equivalent to GCSE grades D-E and therefore does not count to the A*-C measurement system. The qualification names for Level 2 courses changed dependant on whether they were awarded though the current National Qualification Framework (NQF) or the predecessor Qualification Credit Framework (QCF):
|NQF (2012)||QCF (2010)||GCSE size equivalence||Grading|
|BTEC Level 2 Diploma||No equivalent||4 x GCSEs||PPP to D*D*D*|
|BTEC Level 2 Extended Certificate||BTEC Level 2 Diploma||3 x GCSEs||PPP to D*D*D*|
|BTEC Level 2 Certificate||BTEC Level 2 Extended Certificate||2 x GCSEs||PP to D*D*|
|BTEC Level 2 Award||BTEC Level 2 Certificate||1 x GCSE||Pass to Distinction*|
BTEC Grading in more detail
BTEC qualifications are graded differently from your typical A*-G or 9-1 at GCSE and A-Level. The four grades that BTEC offers are: Pass, Merit, Distinction and Distinction* (Pronounced Distinction-Star).
A BTEC Level 1 and 2 grading is equivalent to a GCSE. A Level 1 Pass is equivalent to grades D-G or 3-1 at GCSE. At Level 2, a Pass grade is equivalent to a grade C or 4/5 at GCSE, a Merit Grade is equivalent to a B or 6 Grade at GCSE, a Distinction is equivalent to Grade A or 7 at GCSE and Distinction* (Pronounced Distinction-star) is equivalent to Grade A* or 8/9 at GCSE.
A Level 3 BTEC is equivalent to an A-Level and therefore grading is slightly different to allow and help students gain access to further education in University or Apprenticeships. At Level 3, a Pass grade is equivalent to an E at A-Level, a Merit grade is equivalent to a C at A-Level, a Distinction is equivalent to an A at A-Level and lastly a Distinction* is equivalent to a A* at A-Level.
At both Level 1/2 and Level 3 BTECs, anything that does not meet the criteria for a Pass grade will receive a 'U' meaning 'Ungraded' and the pupil will subsequently not receive a BTEC qualification in that subject. Additionally, grade Distinction* was introduced later, in 2010 to enable pupils to earn a grade equivalent to the top GCSE or A-Level grade and this meant that the cleverest students could be distinguished from a Distinction student to a Distinction* student.
Higher and Further education (Adult courses) RQF or QCF
- BTEC Level 7 Diploma - A Master's Degree level course
- BTEC HND (Higher Nationals)
- Council for National Academic Awards
- National Vocational Qualification
- Scottish Qualifications Authority, an equivalent Scottish body
- "HEPI report: Reforming BTECs: Applied General qualifications as a route to higher education by Scott Kelly (page 8)" (PDF).
- "Our history | Pearson qualifications". qualifications.pearson.com. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
- "Vocation, Vocation, Vocation". Social Market Foundation. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
- "Our history". Edexcel. Pearson Education. Retrieved 14 June 2014.
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